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Thomas Gretton, Lindsey Blom, Dorice Hankemeier and Lawrence Judge

Across the last two decades, preperformance routine (PPR) research has continued to expand its reach, finding use across different sports and application to athletes, coaches, and sport psychology professionals ( Hagan & Schack, 2019 ). However, many avenues extending from and within this area of

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Patrick J. Cohn

The purpose of this review is to discuss the theoretical and empirical support for the use of cognitive behavioral preperformance routines in sport and also to provide suggestions for the practitioner in developing and structuring cognitive and behavioral preparatory routines given the nature of the task and personal preferences. The first section discusses the underlying theoretical assumptions supporting the use of preperformance routines. The second section elaborates on empirical research that has been conducted on cognitive behavioral interventions and preperformance routines in sport. The final section details the practical implications of routines based upon theories and research in the area and provides recommendations for developing and teaching preperformance routines to athletes.

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Ronnie Lidor and Zohar Mayan

Two studies were carried out in order to examine the effectiveness of preperformance routines when learning a self-paced motor skill in volleyball. In Study 1, observational and verbal data were collected on elite male volleyball players in order to determine patterns of motor behaviors performed before they served the ball. In Study 2, beginning female learners were taught two variations of preperformance routines when learning the serve in volleyball: motor-emphasized and cognitive-emphasized. The routines were developed based on the data collected in Study 1. The data analyses revealed that the motor-emphasized learners were more accurate than the cognitive-emphasized learners in retention trials. It was concluded that it may be more beneficial for beginning learners to perform preparatory routines in which an emphasis is made on motor preparation.

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Kenneth Ravizza and Thomas Osborne

Described is a preperformance cognitive-behavioral routine that was developed for the University of Nebraska football team. The routine is based on the premise that to perform effectively, football players must focus on one play at a time by exhibiting self-control and taking responsibility for optimal performance. The resulting 3-step “ready, respond, and refocus” routine emphasized that the play begins with the “ready” signal in the huddle, is followed by the play or “respond” component, and ends with a whistle. The time period from the end of one play to the beginning of the next is the athlete’s time to “refocus,” process, and mentally let go of the previous play. Examples of the “ready, respond, and refocus” routine are given and ways of implementing and teaching it are discussed.

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Britton W. Brewer, Adisa Haznadar, Dylan Katz, Judy L. Van Raalte and Albert J. Petitpas

concept of a mental warm-up can be found most directly in the literature on preperformance routines. Preperformance routines are “a systematic response of task-relevant thoughts and actions which an athlete engages in systematically before his or her performance of a specific sport skill” ( Moran, 1996

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Daniel T. Bishop, Costas I. Karageorghis and Georgios Loizou

The main objectives of this study were (a) to elucidate young tennis players’ use of music to manipulate emotional states, and (b) to present a model grounded in present data to illustrate this phenomenon and to stimulate further research. Anecdotal evidence suggests that music listening is used regularly by elite athletes as a preperformance strategy, but only limited empirical evidence corroborates such use. Young tennis players (N = 14) were selected purposively for interview and diary data collection. Results indicated that participants consciously selected music to elicit various emotional states; frequently reported consequences of music listening included improved mood, increased arousal, and visual and auditory imagery. The choice of music tracks and the impact of music listening were mediated by a number of factors, including extramusical associations, inspirational lyrics, music properties, and desired emotional state. Implications for the future investigation of preperformance music are discussed.

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Peter Gröpel, Christopher Mesagno and Jürgen Beckmann

Evidence shows that using a preshot routine (PSR) improves performance in self-paced, closed-skill tasks. A PSR is a set of cognitive and behavioral elements an athlete systematically engages in prior to performance execution. The present study describes the implementation and evaluation of a PSR intervention with elite pistol shooters in the 10-m air-pistol discipline. Individualized PSRs were developed with the shooters in individual psychological sessions, and the PSRs were then practiced in subsequent training sessions. Intervention effectiveness was evaluated by analyzing the shooters’ competition performance. Overall, the shooters improved on average by 2.5 points from before to after the intervention. This improvement was unlikely due to seasonal effect, as the league average (scores of league shooters not included in the intervention sample) remained stable during the study time. These results indicate that using a PSR before a shooting series has benefits for subsequent shooting performance.

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Thierry R.F. Middleton, Montse C. Ruiz and Claudio Robazza

The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of music on swimmers’ preperformance psychobiosocial states. A purposeful sample of competitive swimmers (N = 17) participated in a 5-week intervention grounded in the individual zones of optimal functioning (IZOF) model. Findings showed that (a) preperformance psychobiosocial states differentiated between best and worst performances, (b) swimmers improved their ability to regulate preperformance states through the use of music, and (c) the use of music had a positive impact on swimmers’ perceived effectiveness of preperformance routines. Furthermore, swimmers’ qualitative reports indicated that music use was made more purposeful due to the introduction of a music intervention. The current study provides preliminary evidence in support of the use of music during preperformance routines as an effective tool to regulate athletes’ preperformance states. Athletes are encouraged to engage in the process of carefully selecting music in accordance with individualized profiles related to optimal performance states.

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Robin C. Jackson and Julien S. Baker

This paper presents a case study of the most prolific rugby goal kicker of all time. In the first part of the study, the consistency of his preperformance routine was analyzed over kicks of varying difficulty. Results indicate that while certain physical aspects of his routine remain consistent, both his concentration time and physical preparation time increase with kick difficulty. In the second part of the study, the participant was interviewed about his physical and mental preparation for rugby goal kicking in competitive situations. The interview revealed that the participant incorporates a number of psychological skills into his routine, including thought stopping, cueing, and imagery but does not do so consistently. However, he perceives the timing of his routine to be highly consistent. Implications of these findings for the recommendation that performers strive for temporal consistency in their routines (Boutcher, 1990) are discussed.

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Sheldon Hanton, Ross Wadey and Stephen D. Mellalieu

This study examined the use of four advanced psychological strategies (i.e., simulation training, cognitive restructuring, preperformance routines, and overlearning of skills) and subsequent competitive anxiety responses. Semistructured interviews were employed with eight highly elite athletes from a number of team and individual sports. Participants reported using each strategy to enable them to interpret their anxiety-response as facilitative to performance. Only cognitive restructuring and overlearning of skills were perceived by the participants to exert an influence over the intensity of cognitive symptoms experienced. The perceived causal mechanisms responsible for these effects included heightened attentional focus, increased effort and motivation, and perceived control over anxiety-related symptoms. These findings have implications for the practice of sport psychology with athletes debilitated by competitive anxiety in stressful situations.